Beginning of a Negotiation

“The best move you can make in negotiation is to think of an incentive the other person hasn’t even thought of – and then meet it”. – Eli Broad

George Osborne today gave speech in Germany to the BDI (German equivalent of the CBI) outlining some of the areas he would like to see negotiated. This is before Cameron sets out his demands to the EU in writing later this month. I’m sure Osbornes requests went down well with his audience and the rest of the EU leaders, because they were basically non-existent.

The majority of the speech focussed on the economic side of things (as you would expect), mainly focussing on ensuring that member states that are not within the monetary Eurozone, do not need to pay for mistakes made within it.

Basically trying to safeguard against another Greece bailout.

“What we seek are principles embedded in EU law and binding on EU institutions that safeguard the operation of the union for all 28 member states. We must never let taxpayers in countries that are not in the euro bear the cost for supporting countries in the eurozone.” – George Osborne

In addition he spoke about the fact that whilst the concept of ever closer union may be what other EU countries want, it is not the path that the UK wish to follow and he would want new safeguards to protect against that.

Well he is at least correct on that point. In fact if opinion polls are to be believed just under half of the UK currently want out of the whole shebang entirely.

In another part he stated that in exchange for this the UK wouldn’t be seeking new vetos or to stand in the way of further change and reform. Quite why would ever stand in the way of UK positive reform, I’m not entirely sure, your guess is as good as mine.

Indeed parts of the speech discussed strengthening the € and yet further economic integration in the EU. I’m not entirely sure he remembered who he was negotiating for at that point.

“Rather than stand in your way, or veto the treaty amendments required, we in Britain can support you in the eurozone to make the lasting changes that you need to see to strengthen the euro. In return, you can help us make the changes we need to safeguard the interests of those economies who are not in the eurozone.” – George Osborne

Basically if the bar had been set any lower it would have been rolling around on the floor. It was fluff, window dressing and nothing anywhere near what I, and many, would consider a decent proposal.

Nothing on freedom of movement, nothing on reducing monetary membership fees of the UK, nothing on gaining back powers we have surrendered, nothing on our own laws, nothing on cutting regulation for British businesses. In fact is was much of nothing.

If this is the standard that Camerons “demands” are going to be taking then he will confirm to us that all of this was a sham, and nothing put an attempt to go into the EU, come back waving an empty piece of paper and claiming it as a victory for the UK.

I look forward to seeing Camerons demands and I hope they are made of sterner, more robust stuff than today’s speech. Somehow I think I will be disappointed.

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